Despite the turbulence the pandemic brought, jewelry brands offering engagement rings saw an unexpected rise in sales in the past year. These precious pieces, it seems, remain hot items and good investments.
Even in the middle of a pandemic, couples still chose to tie the knot by making changes to their wedding ceremonies. (It makes sense when you think about it. Who know when things will go back to normal enough to celebrate traditionally?) Perhaps because of this, fine jewelry brands experienced an unexpected influx of engagement ring purchases, customers willing to spend more on precious stones, and a higher demand for distinctive rings rather than ones chosen from a catalog.
Carl Fider, the founder of Tessera Jewelry, says that the company’s sales in engagement rings boomed during the pandemic. Like many businesses, Tessera anticipated a loss due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19. But, thankfully, the opposite happened.
“We have had customers—who made their inquiries way before the pandemic—come in and put down the cash and buy outright,” Fider shares. “These customers were initially on the fence or hesitant in buying, but then they chose to seize the moment and make the purchase.”
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Fider adds that the price range customers have for personal ornaments definitely increased. “Since people’s movements were limited—no holiday travels, no nights out, no fancy dinners—our customers had more resources to spend on other luxuries and investments like jewelry,” he says.
Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Maggi Simpkins saw the same increase in ring budgets from her clients. She tells British Vogue that there was a shift in customer’s’ spending attitudes for jewelry. “People want pieces that will last, that they can pass down, that can stay in the family as heirlooms – it’s those meaningful purchases that have been at the center of our business,” Simpkins says. In the article published last January, Simpkins adds that the more relaxed pace of wedding planning from last year allowed her to hone stronger connections with clients to create exceptional pieces.
In terms of design trends, more people are opting for dainty pieces. Fider shares that his brand’s customers veered away from large necklaces and bracelets since they are typically purchased for formal events. While in-person events are at a pause, clients acquire jewelry appropriate to wear for Zoom calls or video conferences.
For engagement rings, many customers are turning away from “cookie-cutter” designs. London-based jeweler, Jacqueline Rabun, tells British Vogue that she constantly works with her clients to create one-of-a-kind rings. “My clients are very discerning and are choosing to take a more creative approach to the traditional classic engagement ring,” Rabun says. She marked an emerging difference from past years because almost all her clients want something completely original.
Large brands like Tiffany & Co. are also in line with customer demand for more choices. This May, the iconic New York jeweler launches a collection of men’s engagement rings. The brand that generated more than $4 billion in sales last year (26 percent of sales are from engagement rings) offers its newest line supporting love and inclusivity.
The Gift Of Diamonds
Gifting jewelry as meaningful tokens has remained a trend, “this past Christmas season, we’ve had companies approach us for small intricate pieces that they wanted to give to their staff—pendants for the ladies and cufflinks for the men. It was a thoughtful and unique gesture,” Fider shares. He adds that customers buying jewelry for themselves has been prevalent, a way some chose to treat themselves for going through the 2020 whirlwind.
If you are interested in acquiring diamond encrusted jewelry, Fider says the best time is now.
“Diamond prices have appreciated sharply over the last year. This is due to a few factors: one is that production in India—where most diamonds are cut and manufactured—has gone lower,” he says. “People who have been waiting since last year to jump in and buy also contributed to this rise. It’s the correlation between scarce supply and growing demand, and I expect the prices to keep going up.”